York & North Yorkshire

Public consultation over Selby Gypsy and traveller site

People living in a North Yorkshire town are to be asked their views on the proposed location of a new site for Gypsies and travellers.

Selby District Council has earmarked five sites, with a disused farm at Whitley as its preferred location.

A previous consultation saw 60 landowners withdraw their offers of land after objections from the public.

Conservative council leader Mark Crane said it had been a "struggle" to find a suitable site for up to 40 caravans.

There are currently two official traveller sites in the Selby district.

Selby District Council is legally required to find 10 new pitches for Gypsies and travellers.

Mr Crane said the farm at Whitley, eight miles south of Selby, was "most suitable".

'Safe community'

He said the previous consultation, which attracted about 2,500 replies, showed that whichever location the council finally chose it was likely to prove unpopular with local people.

"I received numerous letters and e-mails and, with a minute number of differences, people were against the site being anywhere near them," he said.

"But we do have a duty to find a site for these people."

Selby District Council has been granted permission for a number of temporary legal sites for Gypsies and travellers while it finds a more permanent solution.

John Taylor, a Romany Gypsy, said he had already offered land to Selby council which he owned at Hillcrest, near Sherburn-in-Elmet.

"Nobody asks the Gypsies where they want to live. Gypsies would much prefer to live on a Gypsy-run caravan site," he said.

"We know our needs and how we can live. We feel safe in a community built by Gypsies."

Selby District Council's consultation begins on 22 September and runs for 10 weeks.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites